Europe unhappy with Ireland homelessness situation

22 March 2018, Thursday
By Elaine Murphy

The Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry this morning said that Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Housing Agency chairman Conor Skehan should be asked to comment on what he described as “scorching criticism” directed at the Housing Agency chairman and Government Ministers by a new report from a top European housing body.

File photo of Cork-based Mick Barry TD

The “Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe” was published yesterday by Feantsa, the representative body for European housing NGOs which is “supported by the European Commission”.

The report states: “The last few months have seen vague, incompetent announcements from senior government officials, sometimes announcing figures far below the reality of homelessness, sometimes justifying – in bad faith – the mediocre results of state action by claiming that some people refuse to be housed, or that they even profit from the system by pretending to be homeless to get priority on ever-growing waiting lists for social housing.”

Although Conor Skehan and Irish Government Ministers are not mentioned by name, it is clear where this criticism is being aimed. Although supported by the European Commission the report “does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission.”

Deputy Barry said this morning: “This is a scorching criticism by any standards and I think that Minister Murphy and the Chairman of the Housing Agency should be asked today to comment. The charges include incompetence and acting in bad faith. I think the charges are correct but I don’t think that those the charges are aimed at can stay silent in the face of them.”
The Feantsa report states that child homelessness increased by 276% in Ireland in the 3 years to Nov 2017 – the highest rate of increase across Europe provided in the report.

The report also states that homelessness has increased by 145% in Ireland in the three years to Nov 2017 – the second highest rate of increase in the report (although the report also says this data is non-comparable).

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